Jamaica is beautiful. Today is the first day. BRING IT
Tomorrow is my last full day in New Mexico. What an exciting and wonderful trip back to this magical place. I have missed the skies here and the smell of fresh rain hitting the desert. I have missed chile and the fantastic New Mexican food. I have missed The Sandias and The Rio Grande. I have missed the wineries and lavender fields.
I have missed my children. I have missed them terribly. It hardly seems enough time with them.
We are growing separately but not apart. It’s pretty exciting to come back and see the growth and witness the changes that are harder to see when I’m with them on a day to day basis. I look forward to what the next leap forward will bring.
I have missed my many friends and have been blessed to see so many of them. I wish I had been able to see more.
I am incredibly excited to start this next adventure. I am excited to teach and live in Turkey with my wonderful friend Wendi and especially excited that both of us are also starting new and wonderful relationships. I couldn’t possibly be much happier.
My children are capable, happy, hard-working adults living good lives. My mama is doing well. I wish I had been able to get up to see my dad, but it is a definite must for the next trip to the states. My friends are doing well. My next job looks exciting and there are so many places to go and see!
I am so happy with the life I am creating. It is hardly ever easy, but it is worth every moment.
Live your dreams, no regrets.
SO I’ve been finding myself blocked again as to what to write about. I want to keep doing the Taiwan posts -but because I think I’m supposed to, and that very fact is stopping me.
I’m finding myself yet again, caught up in the idea that have to write this thing or that thing in order for it to be ok to put up.
Here I am in the fear zone again….. dah dah dahhhhh
Then this morning, as I was laying out in the sun, enjoying the beautiful weather, and reading yet another wonderful book my mama recommended, I happened to notice a thought.
This blog is called “My life in words“. It’s the story of my life. It’s not just the story of my travels, or the story of my family, or the story of the wonderful food I find as I roam around. It’s the whole of my life put into words on a page online. And my life has SOOOOO many different aspects to it.
It doesn’t have to conform to any one thing, just as I don’t.
As I pondered this and let it roll around a while, I let myself listen to music, continue to read, feel the little ants crawling on my feet, notice the breeze sending my hair all over, and talked to a fly or two.
I came up with the idea of what I want to write today: a letter to my future friends.
Dear Future Friends,
I am so excited with anticipation to meet you! Whoever you are, I willingly offer anything I have to help you find your joy. I don’t hold back, I will be your friend completely and without reservation from the first smile. I will instantly love you and trust you. The longer we are friends the more deeply I will feel that way.
Please tell me your stories. I want to hear about who you are. I have many stories, good and bad. I am the compilation of my success through those stories. I know our stories are not what define us; rather the way we choose to respond and grow is what shapes who we are. You are who you are today, not who you were yesterday, as am I. I will only see who you are at the time I meet you. I will have no preconceived ideas about you. Feel free to present yourself as you are, I surely will.
Please tell me your hopes. I want to hear about the things that make you happy and keep you striving. I know that the more we talk about the things we want to do, see, and try, the easier it is to obtain them. I already want you to make your hopes into realities. Trust that I will do anything I can to help you achieve them.
Please share experiences with me. I want to make memories with you. Reminiscing experiences is one of my favorite things to do; second only to experiencing. Silly, serious, ridiculous, poignant, small, large, usual, new, or trippy, it doesn’t matter. Let’s experience life together.
Please teach me. Teach me language. Teach me craft. Teach me a game. Teach me a new way to see things. I don’t care, but teach me, I love to learn.
Please help me grow. We all need help. I will help you too.
I am quirky, silly, grounded, caring, daring, a combination of quiet and energetic, goal-oriented, and sometimes funny, sometimes serious. I like to laugh. Let’s laugh together.
So, as I sit and work on my Good-bye Taiwan posts, going through hundreds of pictures, resizing, sorting, deciding, etc…. I’ve had this one thought keep running through my head.
I know that it is non-productive to let a thought sit and fester, so I figure, I’ll just write about it, get it out of my head, and then it will quit pestering me.
I say pestering rather than bothering because, I don’t know that it bothers me so much. It’s just a point of view, and I can fully respect it. It doesn’t hurt me or make me feel bad. Rather it just has me thinking and it keeps coming back, and I’m not being very productive as I ponder it.
So, here it is.
I was told recently, in a nice way, that I am a complicated woman. Maybe, maybe not.
When I was first told that, I agreed. But the more I think about it, the less I think it’s true. I could be wrong. The fact that I keep thinking about it may actually point to the fact that I am.
Here is where my thinking has been taking me; the reason I say, “No, I’m actually quite uncomplicated”.
Now, I, like each of us, am unique. I have my own set of circumstances, filters, patterns, history, etc. My particular rumbled past could very well be seen as complicated. With that I would agree.
But I, the person, am really quite simple. I don’t really understand the rules of all the social games people play. I don’t play them. I see them played out but I never quite have understood why. It doesn’t make any sense to me to act as if you are not interested in someone in order to get them to like you, or to judge another person based on your own past instead of their present.
I am me, plain and simple. I say how I feel when I feel it. I’m fairly incapable of hiding my feelings, though I will try to be happier if I’m feeling down. I live in the moment as the moment plays out. I ask for help when I need it. I give help whenever I can. I don’t judge people by their past or my past.
I am honest with people, I’m not brutal about it, but I am honest. I admit when I see a fault of mine. I try to work on issues in my life. I am open about myself, my past, my hurts, my triumphs, my goals, my hopes, my experiences. I don’t try to hide anything. I face life as it is and try to make the best of it.
I live for the joy. I want to give joy. I want to feel joy. Joy is nowhere inside the twists and turns of the social chaos and drama that most people wander around in.
Maybe what makes me appear to be complicated is that people who are wandering in the social “NESS” can’t figure out my “angle”.
But, that’s the thing, I don’t have an angle. I will share any part of my life with anybody that wants to hear about it. I will joyously be with the people around me, just because they are there with me.
I am not looking to manipulate, coerce, bend, change, or stop anyone from whatever path they are on. I will give advice if asked. I will be a listening board. I will play devil’s advocate in order to help someone else see another side of an issue they’ve asked me about. But I will also say, “I’m just playing this role, I’m not telling you to do this or that, just helping you see other sides”.
It’s not my place to tell anyone what to do. I have had a lot of experiences. I have lived a lot of roles, held a lot of jobs, and gotten a broad spectrum of education. I will happily tell a story about my life if it relates to something I have been asked about in hopes that it will help that person make their decision for their best interest.
I have also been called a “Yes woman”. I love new experiences. I love living in the moment. I love being with people. I am an avid learner. I love hearing people’s stories. I love watching the dynamics of interactions. I say yes to all kinds of new things as well as tried and true things. How else will I know?
I learn so much from my many experiences. Even the ones that don’t turn out the way I think they will, or others think they will. Every experience is a way to learn and grow. Every one.
I was in a short term amorous friendship not long before my change in relationship with Sven. I’m not sure I would have been able to recognize just how right Sven is for me if I hadn’t known this other wonderful man. Does it make me bad that I didn’t choose to stay with this other guy? No. Does it make him not good enough? NO. Just not right for each other. I’ve been in a small number of long term relationships that ended. And I have learned amazing amounts about me, about what I want and don’t want, about my interpersonal relationship skills, where I need improvement, where I need to stop accepting less than, and how to speak up for myself.
I have watched many mothers berate themselves for being bad mothers, when really they’re just normal mothers. We forget so easily that we are also just people. Just women. We don’t get super powers bestowed on us at the moment that baby cries for the first time. We are just fuddling through this the best way we can. I actually (sort of) think that no one should have just one child. It’s the next one that you start to realize that you’re doing just fine, in fact you were probably a little too harsh on them and yourself. I apologize every year to my oldest on his birthday, because he’s my guinea pig. I’ve never been the mother of a child his age before, plain and simple. We’re gonna tackle it head on, hope for the best, and apologize when needed.
I’ve made and lost friends over the years. I’ve held on and been held onto too long. I’ve let go and been let go of too quickly. I’ve been hurt and I’ve hurt others through overlooking. But every experience teaches me. I let go of the negative and keep the lesson.
Through all the life, all the childhood, all the parenthood, all the womanhood, all the new and old experiences, through all this, I live each day one by one. I try to connect experience with new opportunities, but I pretty much just jump in with the best of intentions for myself and everyone with me.
I trust everyone until they give me a reason not to. I like everyone until they give me a reason not to. I think everyone is trying their best and I try to help. I am really, simply, just out there in the world to be. I like to be. I like me.
I don’t think I’m complicated. Maybe I am, but maybe not.
I’ve now been stateside for a few days. I am exhausted and happy.
Thanks to good friends, I have been picked up from airports, dropped off at airports, and given a place to shower, sleep, and catch up; even a toothbrush!
So as an ode to Taiwan here is a picture fest of some great moments and places in Taiwan.
Part 1 is dedicated to my Taiwan family; William, Wendy, Tim (Kent), Jordan, Grandma, and all the Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins that made my stay so incredible. Without them I wouldn’t have gone to Taiwan. I wouldn’t have learned about this wonderful country. I wouldn’t have seen as much. I wouldn’t have enjoyed as much. They welcomed me in and I am very grateful!
Arriving and first days
My first sightings of traffic, the amazing water displays, and the 101 building
My first understanding of just how much people in Taiwan eat at one time! I learned my first phrase, how to say “I’m full”
Awesome structures, gates, and Morning Markets
First hikes, nature, and beautiful sculptures
First visit to Wulai, crafting, day markets and learning about aboriginal culture, super awesome!
Night markets, more food, and family fun
My first New Year in Taiwan
More coming soon!
I guess because this school year has been so difficult, I’ve continued to visit my old class.
I’ve tutored some of my students this year. And I’ve wished I could still been their teacher.
They have a great new teacher. A friend of mine. They are in great hands. Thank you Tr. Shannon for all you’ve done for them this year!
But I have missed them.
Yesterday was the last time though.
I went and played and sang songs with them.
It was so fun to hear them talking about Turkey. Truly wonderful that Tr. Shannon had taught them about Turkey! They were excited to hear about new students I will be teaching.
I gave them all my email and a request to be their pen pal. It will be great to hear from them. I love when I hear from my students from Washington middle school back in the states!
Amazingly I didn’t feel sad, but rather empowered to know that these wonderful children have such a great start in their lives.
Then I had my last tutor session.
And then I went to the last wonderful dinner.
Dinner was really yummy. I need to look up the name of the place, but it was all vegetarian food and they were very very accommodating to my dairy allergy!! Seriously the best pumpkin soup I have ever eaten. Hands down. The best. One of THE cutest things ever was watching Tiger try to follow my example of twirling my spaghetti. He had only one noodle, but he was twirling so very carefully. I have video, but am still entirely too webilliterate to figure out how to upload it.
so you’ll have to picture it
PS, Still falling,
faster and more happily every day.